Back to Top Skip to main content Skip to sub-navigation

DHA Director outlines how MHS standardization bolsters reform

Two soldiers in masks, talking U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Jim Slife (left), commander of Air Force Special Operations Command, speaks with U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Place, director of the Defense Health Agency, during Place’s visit at Hulrburt Field, Florida, Sept. 1, 2020. Place met with AFSOC’s senior leaders to receive a close look at the command’s unique challenges and mission requirements and units that are aligning under DHA. (Photo by Airman 1st Class Blake Wiles.)

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Joint Health Information Exchange | Electronic Health Record: MHS GENESIS | Military Health System Transformation | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | MHS GENESIS Toolkit

As Army Lt. Gen. (Dr.) Ronald Place outlined his vision for his second year as director of the Defense Health Agency on a call with reporters from the Defense Writer’s Group on Thursday, Oct. 8, he emphasized the common goal shared across the Department of Defense: provide the best clinical outcomes for the 9.6 million beneficiaries within the Military Health System.

Much of the way the general is seeking to achieve that aim is through the standardization of technology and processes within the MHS. He described the roll out of the electronic health record known as MHS GENESIS as a key aspect to improving the delivery of quality care regardless of location for both providers and patients.

“That standardization leads to similar expectation of care from our patients as they go from place to place because everything is the same,” Place said. “It also means as you transition from the DoD to becoming a veteran, the same system and the same methodology would be used in a DoD facility or Veterans Administration facility.”

The MHS is relying on the use of health information technology to advance and streamline care for patients both locally and nationally. Place mentioned the joint health information exchange which securely connects TRICARE contract partners and select federal and private sector partners to share and seamlessly transfer patient information. “So that no matter where our patients get care, the depth and breadth of the entirety of their medical problems can be viewed by each practitioner who’s participating in their care,” said Place. “Ultimately this health information technology is a tool that is in support of optimizing the clinical outcomes of our beneficiaries. “

Standardization improves outcomes, whether clinical outcomes or administrative outcomes, said Place. The MHS plans to utilize health information technology as well other forms of emerging technology such as voice recognition technology for transcription, natural language processing for quick data sort and review and even artificial intelligence in aiding physician review. Place cited imaging as an example, such as X-rays, CT, MRI and ultrasound, and the incorporation of AI protocols to do first pass reviews or aid the radiologists who interpret them. “In some cases if they can demonstrate that they do better than humans, do we transition some of that reading over to the computer systems so that we can improve both the speed and accuracy of the reading of those imaging systems?” he said. “That is the direction we are going ... The whole driver though is improved outcomes.”

The DoD is a continuous learning organization, learning lessons from whatever it faces, be it a pandemic, combat operation, or natural disaster, said Place. As such, the COVID-19 pandemic led the DoD to learn and develop clinical practice guidelines to standardize the care and the treatment of COVID-19 patients within the MHS. The clinical practice guideline now on the verge of publishing its sixth version, outlines the care for a person diagnosed with COVID-19 from asymptomatic to critically ill, he said. “We are constantly evaluating both our own internal outcomes as well as the broad spectrum of what’s being published in medical literature about the care of COVID-19 [patients],” he added.

In March, when the national emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to the pause of elective medical procedures across the MHS in order to protect staff and patients, it also halted the MHS transformation as the DoD moved resources to fight COVID-19. To date, 47 out of 451 MTFs around the world have moved into the DHA. But the effects of COVID-19 around the country has led the DHA to revalidate the recommendation made to realign about 18,000 uniformed medical force positions from the MHS into operational forces and move 190,000 beneficiaries into private care.

“Some outpatient physicians’ offices have either downsized or closed. Some hospitals across America have either downsized or closed. So some of the information that we were relying on to make recommendations to the department about where the capability may exist in the civilian community to effectively provide access to safe high quality care for some of these beneficiaries, that information may no longer be true,” he said. “[The DHA] just recently, in fact, earlier this fall, started the process to revalidate every single bit of that information before I go back to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs to make recommendations on whether or not we should proceed in some of these areas or not.”

The military departments are reviewing the potential downsizing of some of the uniformed medical staff. Place said he provided information to the Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist on the transition of hospitals and clinics into the DHA. “I know that he’s still collecting other information from other locations. I expect that decision to be made in the really short-term future, perhaps this month some time,” said Place. “In terms of the potential downsizing or de-scoping of facilities, that data gathering again, just restarted here in the fall,” he said, adding he does not expect to make a recommendation until early 2021.

While the DHA made recommendations for restarting the transformation process, Place acknowledged some leaders within the military departments brought forth additional concerns that they believe that the leaders of the DoD should take into consideration to inform a future state for the MHS.

“I think this is a good thing there are so many people invested in making sure the future state of the MHS is absolutely the best that it can be in support of the best clinical outcomes for America’s sons and daughters, both those serving today and their families, as well as those retired,” said Place.

You also may be interested in...

Get to Know the Vaccines

Publication
9/17/2021

A graphic showing the types of vaccines, how they work, and safety monitoring of the vaccines. Includes the MHS and TRICARE logos on the bottom right, and includes graphics of scientists, doctors, and patients.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Get to know the COVID19 Vaccines

Publication
9/17/2021

Get to know the vaccines – they do not contain the live virus, they do not interact with our DNA, and have been tested rigorously.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Line Leader Presentation (PDF)

Publication
8/4/2021

This document is identical to the PowerPoint presentation for line leader reference and use.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

Line Leader Presentation (Powerpoint)

Publication
8/4/2021

Leaders across the Department can leverage this briefing deck to discuss COVID-19 vaccines with their troops. Don't forget to reference speaker notes and to personalize the title slide!

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Coronavirus | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

VAX Facts about Getting the COVID Vaccine at the Same Time as Others

Publication
6/9/2021

Printable PDF of VAX Fact Infographic

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vax Facts

Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines

Publication
6/9/2021

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines were developed to prevent infection from the virus that causes COVID-19.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines (Combined)

Publication
6/9/2021

The Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson) COVID-19 vaccines were developed to prevent infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Learn about the vaccines, how they work and safety precautions.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts

How COVID-19 Vaccines Work

Publication
6/9/2021

Learn how the different COVID-19 vaccines work.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine Safety Monitoring

Publication
6/9/2021

The FDA and CDC continue to monitor the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. CDC has an independent group of experts that reviews all the safety data as it comes in and provides regular safety updates.

Recommended Content:

Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | COVID-19 Vaccine Efforts | Getting the COVID-19 Vaccine

Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry User Guide for Service Members

Publication
6/1/2021

The following guide is designed to help service members navigate the complete registry process. It describes the registry requirements; provides an in-depth, step-by-step guide for accessing, registering, and completing the Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry questionnaire; and provides instructions for scheduling the optional, in-person medical exam.

Recommended Content:

Coronavirus | Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry | Environmental Exposures

COVID-19 Vaccine Leader Card

Publication
5/27/2021

This printable card provides talking points when discussing the COVID-19 vaccine with servicemembers who are reluctant or indifferent to accepting the vaccine. The card lists common concerns and impressions, top 5 key messages, and supporting facts about the vaccine.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vax Facts

Alignment of Hospitals and Clinics by Market Type

Publication
5/26/2021

Recommended Content:

Military Health System Transformation

Unit Leader Vaccine Conversation Guide

Publication
5/24/2021

This guide offers approaches and illustrative examples for preparation, delivery, and navigation of small group discussions (recommended 1-5 people to facilitate greatest engagement) with servicemembers reluctant or indifferent to accepting the vaccine. The guide promotes an open dialogue regarding vaccine hesitancy and complacency by addressing concerns, building trust, and boosting vaccine confidence.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vax Facts

Provider Vaccine Conversation Guide

Publication
5/24/2021

This guide offers approaches and illustrative examples for Military Health System (MHS) providers to discuss the COVID-19 vaccine with servicemembers during routine visits. Initiating a COVID-19 vaccine conversation during servicemember visits will allow you to effectively address concerns, build trust, and boost vaccine confidence.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Get to Know the COVID-19 Vaccines | COVID-19 Vax Facts

COVID-19 Vaccine Approved for Adolescents Ages 12 and Over

Publication
5/13/2021

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is approved for those ages 12 and over. Includes a photo of adolescents at the top of the page, has the TRICARE logo at the bottom right. Links in the content include www.TRICARE.mil/VaccineAppointments and www.Vaccines.gov.

Recommended Content:

COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit | Vaccine Eligibility
<< < 1 2 3 4 5  ... > >> 
Showing results 1 - 15 Page 1 of 6

DHA Address: 7700 Arlington Boulevard | Suite 5101 | Falls Church, VA | 22042-5101

Some documents are presented in Portable Document Format (PDF). A PDF reader is required for viewing. Download a PDF Reader or learn more about PDFs.